Member of Parliament (MP) for the Manhyia North Constituency, Collins Owusu Amankwaa has alleged that the opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) while in power under John Dramani Mahama stole in excess of 950 excavators from ‘galamseyers’ and shared them among their foot soldiers to engage in illegal mining activities.
He said the looting was spearheaded by the former National Security Coordinator, Lt. Col. Larry Gbevlo Lartey and assisted by the former Deputy Ashanti Regional Minister, Joseph Yammin under the guise of a clampdown on illegal mining by the Anti Galamsey Taskforce that was set up by the time; he said in an interview on Kumasi-based Angel FM monitored by MyNewsGh.com on Monday.
It may be recalled that in the year 2013, President John Dramani Mahama inaugurated a five-member inter-ministerial taskforce to fight against illegal small scale mining (galamsey) throughout the mining areas of the country.
The taskforce was tasked to among other responsibilities seize all the equipment the illegal miners used, arrest and prosecute both Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians engaged in small scale illegal mining, deport all non-Ghanaians engaged in the practice and revoke licenses of Ghanaians who had subleased their concessions to non-Ghanaians.
Not much was achieved in the clampdown that saw the burning of some excavators and other mining equipment belonging to persons who were suspected of engaging in ‘galamsey’, including Bernard Antwi Boasiako, a.k.a Chairman Wontumi, the Ashanti Regional Chairman of the New Patriotic Party (NPP); a couple of foreign nationals were also arrested and deported.
Hon. Collins Owusu Amankwaa was commenting on the current issue about the missing of some excavators numbering about 500 and said the figure has been “engineered by the NDC just to make this government unpopular”, when he made the allegation.
“We were in this country when the NDC set up Anti-Galamsey Taskforce and it was led by Lt. Col. Gbevlo Lartey; Yammin and others were all part. When they went to seize 950 excavators, ask yourself where they are; they burnt some, including Chairman Wontumi’s own as a camouflage; they deceived us; they shared them among their foot soldiers and today these people think they have the moral right to talk about ‘galamsey’; it’s a big shame!”, Mr Owusu Amankwaa said.
But Joseph Yammin who spoke with angel news later in the day debunked the allegation and said there are records at the Ashanti Regional Coordinating Council covering every single excavator that was seized under his watch and the number of persons who were arrested and deported from Ghana for their involvement in ‘galamsey’ activities.